By John Keel
Hundreds of times in the past 20 years large fleets of ships and planes have been deployed in remote parts of the world to search for, and even to at tempt to destroy, mysterious submarines which apparently belong to no known nation. These phantom subs have been sighted by entire crews of ships and planes, and have been tracked on radar and sonar. On several occasions they have been “trapped” in coves, fjords, and rivers, yet they have always managed to elude their pursuers.
Eyewitness descriptions indicate that these strange underwater craft are considerably larger than any U.S. or Soviet atomic submarine. Their surfaces and superstructures are perfectly smooth, and they don’t .have any visible hatches, potholes or equipment.
And what is even more incredible, there are now a number of well-authenticated sightings in which the objects have not only surfaced but have actually risen into the air and lumbered off like giant dirigibles!
“Captain Nemo lives!” A retired naval officer in Silver Spring, Md., recently chuckled, referring to Jules Verne’s fictitious super submarine captain. “I saw one of the things during WW II in the North Atlantic. We were on anti-submarine duty near Greenland when we came upon the biggest sub I’ve ever seen. It was on the surface. We thought it was a Nazi sub, maybe a new secret weapon of some kind, and all the guns on our destroyer opened up. It had a big, glass-smooth conning tower so we knew it wasn’t a whale. As soon as our shells started dropping around it, it took off . . . and it traveled faster than any submarine could. It was over the horizon in a matter of minutes. We couldn’t catch up with it.”
Although these submarines have been sighted in all parts of the world, they display a curious tendency to linger above the Arctic Circle near the Scandinavian countries, in treacherous, iceberg-filled waters.
The most recent incident took place in a remote fjord 60 miles inland in Norway. The Norwegian navy, aided by NATO ships and planes, failed to capture the mystery sub.
A fisherman named Mons Langetig was standing on the shore of the Sog nefjorden near Vangsnes, Norway, on the afternoon of Nov. 12, 1973, when he was startled to see what looked like a periscope rippling the surface of the water. That night, the Vangsnes ferry’s radar picked up an unexpected blip. Other sailors saw the huge, dark object and assumed it was a whale, even though it was unusual for a whale to be so far inland.
Within a week there were 10 reported sightings of the craft and a Norwegian defense unit had detected a large, metallic “something” moving about the fjord. The warship Trondheim sailed up the waterway and made sonar contact with the object. The Norwegian Defense Command formally announced the presence of an unidentified foreign submarine. More ships and equipment were rushed to the area.
“We cannot engage in guesswork,” Defense Minister Johann Kleppe told reporters. “We must stick to the facts. And they are that a foreign submarine is in Norwegian waters. This fact is based on both visual and technical in formation.”
The entrance to the fjord is 650 feet deep and the entire waterway is bordered by high mountains. There is nothing of military significance in the area so there was no reason for a foreign “spy” sub to be there, Norwegian newspapers pointed out.
However, ships from the NATO fleet were staging military exercises in Norwegian waters at the time so there was some speculation that the submarine could be a Russian craft spying on the maneuvers. But Norway was• engaged in delicate diplomatic negotiations with the Soviet Union at the time, and it would have been a foolish blunder for the Russians or any Iron Curtain country to endanger those negotiations by blatantly violating Norwegian territorial waters.
The presence of the submarine be- • came a major political issue in Norway as the press and public clamored for action. Norway not only sent its entire navy of 30 warships and submarines into the fjord to investigate, but elements of the NATO fleet, including American and British vessels and helicopters, were rushed to the scene.
The location of the submarine was pinpointed precisely with sonar and the fleet cut off all possible avenues of escape. Depth charges were systematically released throughout the area in an effort to force the sub to the sur face. Norwegian authorities boasted that the sub could not possibly get away and that the mystery would soon be solved.
“It is our duty to defend our country,” Norwegian Gen. H. F. Zeiner-Gundersen announced, “and chase away any ship or submarine hiding in our waters. We can’t help it if it belongs to a major nation.”
Despite the tight net of warships in the Sognefjorden, the sub seems to have escaped around November 23rd. That evening witnesses on a branch of the fjord, the Lusterfjorden, reported seeing “a great dark object moving near the surface for seven minutes be fore it disappeared.” Almost simultaneously, a warship in the Aurlandsfjorden, yet another branch of the main fjord, reportedly picked up a large object on their instruments. And a 14-year-old boy, Martin Nielsen, told authorities he had seen “six rockets” shoot straight up out of the water and disappear into the air. “It could have been signals to persons on shore,” one Norwegian newspaper suggested. That night, high up in the nearly in accessible ice covered mountains near Aurlandsfjorden a series of red and green lights began flashing. The Norwegian military commanders began referring to “light phenomena,” which included a mysterious “helicopter” that did not belong to the fleet.
On the evening of November 24th, the fleet made a massive attempt to bomb the waters and force the sub to the surface. Suddenly there was total chaos as all the electronic gear on all the ships went out of order. Radio communications between the ships became impossible and radar and sonar equipment became useless!
That was the last big “battle.” On November 27th the Norwegian government announced that the sub was gone.
“I am sorry to say that we could not bring the submarine to the surface and identify it,” Minister Kleppe told the Norwegian public in a special tele vision broadcast. A heavy lid of security was lowered over the entire embarrassing operation and the Norwegian and NATO fleet left the fjord empty-handed.
Somehow the huge submarine had escaped to the open ocean 60 miles away. Four frigates, a torpedo boat and other vessels that were guarding the entrance to the fjord never made contact with the fleeing sub.
In the Soviet Union, the government newspaper Izvestia labeled the affair a “witch hunt” and emphatically denied that the sub belonged to any Soviet bloc country.
A week after the great Norwegian sub scare ended, witnesses along the Hardangerfjorden, 10 miles south of the Sognefjorden, reported seeing a periscope and conning tower in the water. Embarrassed Norwegian officials said they would press a new search for the object.
On December 7th, and again on the 9th, fishermen in the Disko Bay area of Greenland, reported seeing a mysterious submarine deep inland in a fjord there. Denmark rushed a warship with a helicopter to the region.
Perhaps the Norwegians and Danes should have consulted the Swedish authorities because the Swedes have been chasing phantom submarines for years! On Sept. 12, 1969, one of these objects startled Swedish author ties by sur facing in a “restricted military area” near Stockholm. Swedish ships closed in and boasted they had trapped the sub. It got away. But a year later, on Nov. 12, 1970, it came back. Again, the Swedish fleet turned out, and once again the sub vanished. Back on Aug. 24, 1962, a “mystery sub” alarmed the citizens of Gottland, an island off the coast of Sweden. Ships of the Swedish navy rushed to the island, located the sub with their electronic gear and seeded the area with depth charges, but it somehow
The history of these mysterious underwater craft extends back much further. There were periodic submarine “scares” in the 1920s. The popular theory then was that they ‘ were renegade German submarines left over from WW I. Of course, subs then, as now, required considerable logistical support for fuel, food, and supplies.
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It is very •unlikely that any wartime sub marine could remain operational for very long once it was cut off from such support.
Scandinavian researchers such as Jan-Ove Sundberg and Ake Franzen of the Riks organisationen UFO Sverige have sifted through old news paper files and reconstructed now forgotten events of the 1930s. Beginning in 1933, Sweden, Norway, and Finland were flooded by a wave of sightings of “ghostfliers” which aroused the authorities of those countries and led to massive hunts and investigations on the same scale as the submarine hunt of November 1972.
The areas visited by the ghost fliers were far to the north, mainly above the Arctic Circle, snowbound, mountainous, and very thinly populated. Day after day, and night after night during the winter of 1933-34, the ghost fliers passed’ over regular routes, flying in all kinds of weather and openly defying the tiny Swedish Air Force. Some of the ghost fliers were described as or dinary looking airplanes, painted gray, with no visible identification numbers
or insignia. Some were multi-engine craft. They often flew in format ions of three or four at treetop level over towns and villages, while at the same time many people reported receiving strange signals on their radio sets. And a number of mysterious, unidentified ships were sighted in the frosty Arctic waters.
There were all kinds of theories and speculations but none of them fitted all the facts. The Soviet Union had no real air force at the time and little aircraft industry. Hitler had just come into power in Germany and had not yet be gun to rebuild the Luftwaffe. In any case, it would have been sheer in sanity for any foreign power to risk military flights over the Scandinavian countries because an accident could have sparked another world war.
Swedish authorities were particularly concerned because the ghost fliers returned again and again to restricted military areas, maneuvering .over forts and navel stations, and, incidentally, visiting the very places that became sites for the mystery submarine searches 30 years later.
These phantom airplanes operated throughout the 1930s (they were also seen over England, France, and even over New York City). After one had repeatedly buzzed a fort at Boden, Sweden, in 1937, a formal government hearing was held. The Swedish Minister of Defense pointed out that extensive investigations had been carried out , special searchlights and listening devices had been installed in the sighting areas, and all the results had been negative. That September “unfamiliar aeroplanes” circled the Swedish naval installation at Karls krona several times. A mystery sub would appear at Karlskrona in 1970.
These submarines have been frequent visitors to the waters around Scotland and England, as have the ghost fliers. On Feb. 12, 1965, four wit nesses reported seeing a “ghost plane” dive into the sea near Mine head on the North Devon coast. “The plane was so unusual it attracted our attention” one witness said. “There was something abnormal about it. It did not seem to be distinct, but had a misty appearance, yet there was no fog or mist about. It came from behind some trees. Then it literally disappeared before our eyes. The strange part was that it made no sound, and did riot appear to have an engine. But it was certainly not a glider”
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Another major submarine search took place in Argentina in February 1960. After reliable witnesses reported seeing the strange-looking giant metallic cigar slicing through the waters of the Gulf of San Matias and Nuevo Gulf, the Argentine navy sent a large force of ships and planes to the area-which, incidentally, was close to the Antarctic Circle. For two weeks the naval forces dropped depth charges and probed the Nuevo Gulf with sonar. They detected not one, but two submarines. The objects remained sub merged and, although the Argentine authorities believed they had the things trapped in the gulf, they finally disappeared.
One native of the region was quoted by retired British consulate officer Gordon Creighton as saying, “It is absolutely certain that in the depths of the Gulf of San Matias there is a flying saucer base. These happenings are common knowledge throughout a large region of Patagonia, where it is a regular and quite nor mal thing for people to be heard speaking of the Martians.”
In 1965, the mystery submarines put in an appearance around Australia and New Zealand, prompting a massive search by the Royal Australian Navy. That January, an airline pilot reported seeing a long metallic object, “the shape was not that of a normal submarine,” in shallow water at the end of Kaipara Harbor, N.Z. He circled it and noted that it had no superstructure but appeared to have a hatch on top. Naval investigators found nothing and said the water was too shallow for a submarine.
Four months later, three different sub marine sightings were reported within five days near Brisbane, Australia. The objects were at least 100 feet long with small structures mounted on their stems. In June a private pilot, Mr. C. Adams, and a television cameraman, Les Hendy, saw five “mysterious objects” floating in the water about 150 miles north of Bris bane . Typically, a curtain of silence fell over the Australian navy after they looked into these incidents.
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At midnight on July 30, 1967, a luminous submarine object startled the crew of an explosive-laden cargo ship, Naviero, off the coast of Brazil. Capt. Julian Ardanza .reported, “We clearly saw a strange body to starboard of the fore castle. It was 30 meter s (90 feet) long . . . The object was seen submerging with a resplendent, clean silhouette and a rare blue and white luminosity. Our ship maintained its speed. The object in creased its speed and turned to port pas sing underneath our feet. Then it dis appeared very rapidly. It was as if it had been a submarine . . . I have no idea what type of ship it was.”
Argentina, Brazil, and most of the countries of South America have experienced repeated UFO waves through out the past 20 years. Argentina has also produced a number of mystery airplane reports. These objects, like the Scandinavian ghost fliers, look like conventional aircraft but are usually gray or solid black, display no markings or insignia (thus violating international law), and of ten maneuver at treetop level in eerie silence.
Floating and submerging UFOs have frequently been seen in South America. At 11:40 a.m. on June 27, 1970, eight wit nesses observed a disc-shaped object on the water off the coast of Leblon, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was about 18 feet in diameter and had a transparent dome on top. Two crewmen, “thickish set and quite small” dressed in shining coveralls were clearly seen working on the top of the object. It remained in view for about half an hour then it skimmed along the surface of the sea for 100 yards and rose into the air. One of the witnesses, Dona Maria Nazare, said she could see the two occupants sitting inside the dome as the disc flew off. This was one of the best of the rare daylight sightings of “hard” (solid machine) type objects.
In March 1966, an Argentine farmer named Carlos Corosan claimed he watched a strange cigar-shaped flying machine plunge into the Atlantic near Deseado below the San Jorge Gulf. It was gray-black and perfectly smooth, with no visible markings, windows, or appendages. When he first saw it, Corosan said, it was “chugging along” in the air, making a noise like an automobile with a
sputtering engine. It began to make popping, explosive sounds and then “crashed” into the sea, “It did not float at all,” Corosan told investigators. “It just hit the water with a huge splash and went down quickly.”
There are now hundreds of reports of flying objects plunging into bodies of water and disappearing. (See “Mysterious Salt Water Saucer Bases” by Ivan T. Sanderson, SAGA, June 1971.) Some of these stories are quite baffling. A bus driver in Walthamstow, England, swore he saw a silvery cigar-shaped object drop out of the sky and splash into the River Lea. On the way down it severed tele phone lines and cut a deep gouge in the towpath beside the river. But when the police dragged the river they found it was only six feet deep!
Scandinavian authorities have dragged man-y • remote lakes in northern Sweden after witnesses reported seeing something splash into them from the sky. In 1968 a massive military and scientific search team was sent to Andersviksberg, Da lama, to search the bottom of Lake Uppramen for some trace of the thing that had made a gigantic hole in the ice-a hole that covered several square miles! Their efforts were in vain.
A majority of all reported UFO sightings are LITS (lights in the sky). The U.S.A.F. labeled them “meandering nocturnal lights.” Many of these LITS are probably natural phenomena, bolides and meteors, and even the normal lights of high flying aircraft mistaken by over-zealous witnesses. No astronomer or scientist has really attempted to study and classify these LITS and until such classification is undertaken ufologists will continue to face a hopeless tangle of unidentified but possibly identifiable aerial lights.
A very small percentage of all known sightings are of seemingly real, solid ma chines of some sort, usually in the disc or cigar-shaped configuration. These sightings form the core of the flying saucer mystery. Interestingly, nearly all of these rare “hard” sightings take place near or over bodies of water-lakes, rivers, fjords, oceans. In another age, the frequent appearances of strange objects and beings around water produced the “water sprite”
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lore. Fairies and leprechauns were often seen around lakes and rivers, occasion ally collecting water in receptacles just as the small ufonauts in modem flying saucer cases have been reported gathering water with pails and hoses.
Interestingly, while the cases of UFOs landing inland are most often witnessed by solitary individuals, the water sightings are often reported by entire ships’ crews and the documentation in ships’ logs is thorough and exact, particularly when sonar and radar are involved, which happens often.
Water sightings therefore form a body of evidence worth very serious consideration, and the investigation of these occurrences falls more properly into the hands of the U.S. Navy than the Air Force. Over the years there have been many hints that the Navy is, in fact, more concerned with UFOs than the U.S.A.F. When officers of the Royal Australian Air Force were investigating flying saucer landings in 1966 they admitted they were employing instruments and techniques developed by the U.S. Navy. And it was the Office of Naval Research (ONR) that played a central role in the famous Jessup-Allende affair in the 1950s. (Carlos Allende submitted some very interesting UFO documents to astrophysicist Morris K. Jessup through the ONR.)
After a UFO had pursued his plane in 1954, Sec. of the Navy Dan Kimbel ordered the ONR to begin its own flying saucer investigation.
The late Ivan T. Sanderson, a famous zoologist and one of the world’s foremost investigators of the unexplained, had served in British Naval Intelligence in the Caribbean during WW II. He saw and reported so many unusual objects in the water and the air that his superiors’ finally asked him to ignore them.
In later years, Sanderson devoted a lot of time to collecting and cataloging water sightings. He developed an elaborate theory suggesting that all real UFOs were probably based in the world’s oceans and from some other planet.
One of Anderson’s favorite cases occurred in 1963 in the Atlantic several hundred miles from Puerto Rico. A group of
naval vessels were engaged in a military exercise when their sonar picked up a moving underwater object. Several ships and aircraft all zeroed in on the same “thing” with their equipment . All reported that it was traveling at the incredible speed of 150 knots. They tracked it for four days and at times it dove to the astounding depth of 27,000 feet. So whatever it was it outperformed any known submarine or fish.
In addition to all of this extraordinary evidence, there have been scores of accidents at sea in which ships were badly damaged when they collided unexpectedly with metallic objects in open water. The trawler S tar of Freedom was mangled when it smashed into “a surfacing submarine” off the coast of Scotland on Feb. 3, 1965. A thorough check disclosed that no known submarine was operating there at the time. Another trawler, the Silveroe, ran into an unknown object “that could have been a submarine” along Sweden’s Baltic coast in November 1969. In February 1970, two different ships in the Mediterranean collided with submarine objects. A Tunisian tanker Tabarka, and the Italian liner Angelino Lauro. Both sustained damage when they struck mysterious underwater craft.
If we simply disregard the saucer-type stories and concentrate on the mystery airplanes and mystery submarines we find that there is considerable evidence indicating that someone is operating a clandestine air force and navy on this planet, and that they have been doing so for many decades. There were mystery airplane sighting all over the world in the period of 1909-1914 when there were very few primitive man-made planes in existence. And those planes had such limited capabilities they could not have been responsible for the sightings. The mystery ships and submarines have been busy since the 1920s, and possibly longer. Very little foreign news from Greenland and Scandinavia reached researchers in the 19th Century.
The patterns indicated by the data outmay be situated somewhere in the remote wasteland of the Arctic Circle. These bases could be underwater. There could even be a network of connecting
underwater tunnels or channels in the various deep fjords of Scandinavia, which would account •for the submarines’ ability to elude pursuers and reappear unexpectedly in neighboring fjords •.
One theory is that the ghostlier sighting of the 1930s was a logistical operation where fuel, food, and construction sup plies were being flown into northern Scandinavia from Europe. Somewhere among the inaccessible mountains and fjords great bases were built by some mysterious but well-financed organization. The phantom planes, flying discs, and submarines are stored there. Personnel could be recruited easily-even kidnapped. Hundreds of thousands of people disappear inexplicably each year on this planet. Some of them could end up in those bases, suffering from amnesia, their pasts wiped away. Scattered witnesses in Canada, South America, and the Pacific have continually reported unexpected encounters with men in military-type uniforms (but not any known type of uniform) in areas where UFOs and mystery submarines have been seen. Could they have been members of this strange, secret navy?
Today the armed services of several nations have had extensive experiences with these objects and, very probably, with the personnel connected with the objects. The U.S. Navy has repeatedly chased phantom subs from Florida to Maine and along the coast of California. Yet information about these incidents is more closely guarded than flying saucer reports. Officials are very uptight over these incidents and they might even be worried.
“After very prolonged consideration of this,” Ivan Sanderson wrote, “I have been forced to agree that officialdom-and I use the expression collectively-knows no more about the business than huffs or anybody else, and that they are just plain scared. There is nothing that officialdom dreads more than having to admit that it doesn’t know what is going on, or what everything or anything is admit that they have no answers or remedies.”
One group of UFO buffs has long argued that beings from another planet are quietly preparing to invade and take over Earth. The Arctic bases could be part of their preparation, according to this theory. Another group, spearheaded by Wisconsin editor Ray Palmer, has watched the UFO activity in the Arctic and Antarctic for years, claiming that flying saucers were coming from holes at the poles. Entire generations of officials in Norway and Sweden have had to lapse into confused, and perhaps frightened, silence.
The U.S. Navy still keep silent. But, somewhere out in the vast oceans of the worlds there are definitely submarines that can move faster and dive deeper than anything owned by the U.S. or the Soviet Union. There are aircraft that can dive into the water and convert into submarines. And there are ordinary, air-breathing, earthling types manning these objects. What are their allegiances? Why do they hide from us? And what are they really up to?